Assessing and strengthening health systems’ crisis preparedness


During a simulation exercise hospital managers decide on the number of patients they can still receive based on the number of available theatre rooms and intensive care unit beds

In preparing for health crises, health systems face high expectations, multiple hazards and limited resources. WHO/Europe works with Member States to strengthen their health systems’ capacities by providing technical assistance to develop and implement crisis preparedness programmes.

In 2007, the European Union’s Directorate-General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) and WHO/Europe embarked on a joint project to “support health security, preparedness planning and crisis management in the European Union (EU), EU accession states and neighbouring (European Neighbourhood Policy) countries”. The objectives of this project include the evaluation of the national health sector crisis preparedness and response capacities. This included the development of a standardized toolkit for assessing health- system capacity for managing crises. On the basis of pilot assessments carried out in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Poland, the Republic of Moldova, Turkey and Ukraine between 2007 and 2010 the final toolkit was developed and published early 2012.

So far, the toolkit has been applied in 18 countries in the European Region. It will be adapted and rolled out to further countries, through joint WHO expert assessment teams integrating national experts and/or through a self assessment approach.